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Whirlpool Finds Buyer For Hoover

12/08/2006 10:48:00 AM Eastern

Benton Harbor, Mich. — Whirlpool has reached a definitive agreement to sell its Hoover floor-care business to Hong Kong-based Techtronic Industries (TTI), maker of Dirt Devil, Regina and Royal vacuums.

Whirlpool acquired Hoover last year as part of its $1.7 billion buyout of Maytag. The nation’s No. 1 majap maker will receive $107 million in cash for the Hoover portfolio, which features general and special-purpose vacuuming products including full-size uprights and canisters, deep cleaners, and hard-floor cleaners. TTI will also assume operational control of the Hoover business, including manufacturing operations in North Canton, Ohio; El Paso, Texas; and Juarez, Mexico, and all other Hoover locations.

Whirlpool expects the transaction to close in the first quarter of 2007, following regulatory clearance. As part of the sale, Whirlpool will retain the liabilities associated with pension and post-retirement benefit plans for currently retired Hoover employees.

Hoover, whose midtier products fell out of favor in a bifurcated market that favors low-end and super-premium products, had been a money-draining operation for Maytag, and is one of the last remaining vestiges of that company to be spun off by Whirlpool.

“The decision to divest the floor-care business allows us to focus on our core appliance business,” said Whirlpool chairman/CEO Jeff M. Fettig. “We have now signed a definitive agreement to sell the Hoover floor-care business and completed the sale of Dixie-Narco vending systems and Amana Commercial microwave business. In addition, we continue to work toward completing the sale of the Jade [commercial oven] business by the end of this year.”

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